North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    I once told the congregation of the small country church I pastor that we’re all in the construction business. Not only are we building the Kingdom of God through the ministries of our church, we’re building something else personally significant to each and every one of us. Our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions are always in a state of work, building a house not made with hands, but built with the imperishable fabric of our souls. The most important house you can build is your character. It’s better to live in one small room where the soul dwells with integrity and righteousness and the window lets in the realm of spiritual beauty, than to live in the biggest city, in the tallest building, on the most fashionable street, where the soul dwells in a dark cellar devoid of light or hope.    We’re all building our own house. In this modern world, if a person has enough wealth, they can hire a builder to construct a house based on a certain plan and then go their own way. They don’t have to be troubled by it until the house is finished. But a person can’t build character by proxy. It’s a personal endeavor that must be built day by day, year by year by the personal strokes of our own hammer. It’s continuous and a person must spend a lifetime building it.

    A person can’t build good character, then go off and do what they please and come home to find it just the same as they left it. Some people think this way. There are some people who think because they were converted twenty, thirty, forty years ago, and built-up a degree of religious experience, there’s nothing else needed to be improved or maintained. There could be no greater mistake than this. The house of character is in a constant state of building, and can never be left to take care of itself. Until the day we die we must be builders. Matthew 24:6-13 says, “You will hear of wars, but don’t panic, nations will go to war against other nations, you will be persecuted because you’re my followers, many will turn away from me, false prophets will appear, many people’s love will grow cold, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

    The blessings of God come and go all the time. But there’s no blessedness so sacred that it allows the Christian to stop building personal character. Just because a child grows up, leaves the home, and no longer is within hearing distance of their parent’s voice, does it cease to have all the knowledge it needs to survive. It’s one of the pervading principles that the more delicate a thing is, the sooner it will decay and fall to pieces when it’s separated from the root in which it sprang. Consider the flower, nature’s perfume will eventually evaporate from it, and the petals will fall off soon after it has left the stalk.

    Many people don’t exercise their faith, some choose to ignore it and they wonder why the joy of living has jumped the fence and gone loose. Good things, like character, must be improved upon, maintained, and built up if they’re to enjoy the abundant life Christ wants us all to enjoy.

    If we did good work yesterday, it’s easier to do good work today. This makes it easier for work to be done tomorrow. Because a house is beautiful yesterday, doesn’t prevent us from improving it in future days. It’s absolutely true that life is what we make it. Everyone who comes to know Christ’s divine message, will build a house of conduct and character. And each house will be tested. The wind will blow on it, the rain will beat against it, and no house, no matter how well or how poorly it’s constructed, will escape a thorough testing in every part. There’s no basis whatsoever in the Bible for the delusional dream that it’s possible for a Christian to reach an ecstatic holiness that they’re beyond the danger of temptation. There’s no promise of that in the Bible. Every character illustration God has given us in the Bible, who has sought to build up character pleasing to Him, speaks to us in their testimony of the universal struggle and battle with the storms of life. Be assured, your house of character will be tried by the wind and drenched by the rain.

    The temptations that are initiated by the devil are a flagrant attempt to assault your body, mind, and soul. They will sweep over you and are as real and as terrible as at any time in the history of the world. Because of this, there’s a requirement that everyone’s house of character have a solid foundation on which they can build character that will stand through all the storms of temptation that beat down on it. Jesus said, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood waters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it’s built on bedrock” (Matthew 7:24-25).

    It’s clear that the rock which Jesus sets forth as a safe foundation for our house of human life is that of obedience to him. He has promised to take care of those who in obedient humility do his will.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. Amazon.com. You can contact him at: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Posted by on Jul 30 2017. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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